At Ventana Research we’re familiar with the need for digital transformation as we have been researching and providing education on this topic for almost two decades. And recent global challenges make even clearer the sea change at hand: digital innovation is essential for not only success, but survival. Business continuity during a pandemic, natural disaster, cyber event or geopolitical situation requires business and risk mitigation processes, but unfortunately very few organizations had been doing so. We are seeing how quickly organizations are going into survival mode, in how they operate and communicate to meet the expectations of the workforce, customers, stakeholders and potentially shareholders.
Now is the time for organizations to invest in the risk mitigation and continuity planning that they need. Establishing these processes and procedures to prevent and mitigate interruptions to business operations requires leadership and programs that ensure organizational readiness. The first step in such planning is setting priorities with respect to maintaining processes or services and then, based on this ranking, allocating the technology investments necessary to sustain operations more effectively and potentially in a complete virtual manner. Which of the customer, product, financial, manufacturing, sales, marketing, service and operational processes do you need most to operate continuously? Who are the leaders and coordinators that need to be able to assemble and communicate virtually at a moment’s notice? What business applications and technology such as analytics, collaboration, mobile and extended reality (XR) help you innovate and optimize your digital experiences?
Recent global challenges make even clearer the sea change at hand: digital innovation is essential for not only success, but survival.
The second step is to ensure you have digitally secure and preventive methods, like that in cybersecurity technology, for your operations and communication across the remote workforce and extended to customers and suppliers. Today’s “unified” communications and collaborative environments have not lived up to their names and have been siloed within the organization. These environments also have not conformed to the organization’s security posture or delivered a frictionless experience across mobile devices and platforms. Effective communications require video and not just conferencing, but collaboration that operates independently and embedded within enterprise applications and tools. Modern approaches to open communications include these features and are a sound methodology for organizations to consider. Open communications can deliver value by significantly enhancing productivity and workforce engagement, and thus business continuity.
In addition, organizations should ensure the workforce has computer and even mobile technology compatible with smartphones and tablets so they can access applications and technology. It’s also important to consider related tools. Few organizations have professional-grade communication headsets with audio and microphone support or a high-quality camera so the workforce can interact visually. Most organizations will have to make an investment to do it right. These items might not be a small investment if the organization consists of thousands of employees, though the gesture could be a nice perk to your employee experience efforts if you have those in place.
The third step is ensuring your organization has the right technology with which to continuously assess its ability to operate seamlessly and effectively. Effective business continuity planning must be periodically tested under realistic conditions and, where necessary, adjusted to ensure it is ready when the situation occurs. Organizations need digital innovation over simple digital transformation and should seek opportunities that will help them not only meet requirements for business continuity but take action in a more meaningful and rapid manner. While a vast number of organizations have made some improvements, now it is time to take a more methodical look at your technology portfolio, as I outline in my perspective on digital technology for optimal operations, to see if it has you as organizationally ready as you will need moving into the future. Now that barriers to achieve digital or virtual operation have been removed, at least for organizations embracing cloud computing in recent years, success still requires going beyond the basics.
For effective business continuity, walk through these steps outlined to better plan for and ensure that your organization is prepared using technology to connect the workforce and value chains that instrument the continuous operations of your business processes. Look for communication technology that supports video properly. Adopt digital innovation that’s focused on the experiences, because no matter how many employees or the size of the revenue, you have an opportunity to significantly improve the digital experiences that engage everyone across your organization, extended customers and suppliers.